BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
Now that Notre Dame has decided to end their rivalry with the Michigan Wolverines because of their five game commitment to the ACC, it's time to find the Maize & Blue some new opponents.
Before I do, I want to mention that Michigan won't miss Notre Dame because the Irish are giving up a chance to play the No.1 winningest program of All-Time in the FBS Division.
With the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten, the Wolverines versus Cornhuskers is a rivalry waiting to heat up.
But here is a list of some of the match-ups that seem quite appealing to me that could even make national sense.
1. Lets replace one FBS Independent for another with the addition of Brigham Young University. Lets not forget that the Cougars only National Championship occurred in 1984. BYU (12-0-0) faced the Wolverines, who were 6-5-0 in the Holiday Bowl and defeated U-M 24-17. BYU concluded the 1984 season with a 24-game winning streak. The Cougars aren't a member of the Bowl Championship Series Coalition therefore, adding Michigan to it's future schedules will enhance BYU's strength of schedule plus increase name recognition.
2. Do you think that former Michigan alumnus Stephen M Ross would dream of having the Wolverines play in Joe Robbie Stadium, the home of his Miami Dolphins? A Michigan versus Miami Hurricanes match-up would be a natural. I've seen enough Hurricanes games over the years and I do believe that the Wolverines would pack the 70,000 plus seat stadium. In an area dominated by folks from the Northeast, I've seen the Red Wings play to capacity crowds when they face the NHL's Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida. I could see the same thing happening here as well. U-M has recruited well in South Florida.
3. Would current Arizona Wildcats Coach and former U-M boss Rich Rodriguez have the guts to play the Wolverines? You know that he's boasting that last year's U-M success is attributed to the players he recruited. But if the Wolverines want to recruit into the State of Arizona, this would be a good vehicle to get them into the Southwest.
4. Boise State will be joining the Big East in football in 2013 and did face the Michigan State Spartans in their opener this year. For a program that is looking for respect, facing Michigan would be the way to do it. If Michigan ever played on the Blue Turf in Idaho, Bronco Stadium, which has a capacity of 37,000, could easily double it's capacity if the Wolverines came to town. My advice to the Boise State athletic department is to get temporary seating and raise the capacity to at least the 50-60,000 mark to make it worth U-M's worthwhile to go to Idaho.
5. This would be a dream for myself but whether it becomes a reality remains to be seen. Raymond James Stadium is a place where the Wolverines have played in the past for the Outback Bowl. My University of South Florida Bulls occupy the building during the regular season and yes, I bleed Green & Gold especially for this game. Michigan used to play Lou Holtz when he coached at Notre Dame. His son Skip Holtz would love to see U-M pack this place as I'd predict that the upper and lower levels of the stadium would be jammed and loud. There are lots of Midwest transplants in the Tampa Bay Area. The Lions always have a great following when they play the Bucs while the Red Wings jerseys out number the Lightning when the face off with each other.
6. The Pittsburgh Panthers would be an easy commute for the Wolverines. Pittsburgh has a great building that it shares with the Steelers in Heinz Field. Both programs have had great players over the years. Major League Baseball has designated the Pirates as the Tigers new rival. The Red Wings and Penguins have a great Stanley Cup history with each team winning one title against the other squad. The Steelers won a Super Bowl over Seattle at Ford Field as they had a prohibitive home field advantage. Need I say more.
In the meantime, good riddance Notre Dame. Perhaps the only time Michigan will see you on the field is in a Bowl Game.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33.com.
- Scott Morganroth
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